A cute little dog called Rockford gets lost and ends up in the Land of Infinity. There he meets lot of fascinating creatures who, to his surprise, turn out to be the last one of each that has gone extinct from our planet! They sing and dance and tell Rockford the stories of their extinction. Sounds like a great way of teaching your kids about ecology, extinction and their role in preserving the nature? It definitely is!
Rockford’s rock opera is a unique adventure in sound for adults and children. With narration, sound effects, songs and videos, it’s a totally new kind of musical experience. Its Facebook page describes it with words “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets The War of the Worlds, or Jungle Book meets Jurassic Park…” The members of this “musical experience” include Matthew Sweetapple, Steve Punt, Elaine Sweetapple and Jess Hodge along with others. Each one of them has contributed to this musical in their own capacities as producer, script writer, narrator, singer, voice-over for characters, illustrator to name only a few aspects. The first part of the story (52 minutes long) is available as mp3 audio for free download on their website. They also have a YouTube channel which lets you sample some of the animation videos that are part of this incredible story. I have listened to the audio book and watched the videos and cannot praise the creators of them enough. The music is catchy, lyrics are simple to understand and the animation is fascinating.
The first work of the Sweetapple label that I came across wasn’t the Opera at all. I saw their video Distant Generation on YouTube which was favourited by a friend and instantaneously fell in love with these folks. I then decided to dig a bit deeper and found a treasure trove of creative works in form of Rockford’s Rock Opera audio and video. Ever since then I have shared these works with people whenever I’ve gotten a chance. But I’ve always wanted to do a Sunday Spotlight on them and today seems to have been the fateful day. I am going to share the words directly from the website as I think they best describe the Opera and its purpose and scope.
Rockford’s Rock Opera is an amazing adventure in sound for adults and children. Part One of the story (six chapters: 52 minutes) is free! It features narration, read along text, characters, sound effects and music and is available as a free mp3 download and an audio stream. Great to listen to on your computer, your ipod or burnt onto CD, this is a free audiobook like no other. The website also contains useful background information about the story (including key information and free downloadable teaching resources about extinction and ecology), how the story was made and the facts behind the fiction.
Once you’ve sampled the story, you can buy it as an unabridged book on compact disc, together with illustrations and animated digital videos. Rockford’s Rock Opera is more than an electronic book, it’s a Musical Story about animals and an adventure about life on earth. It’s an original tale about extinction, but it’s also a story of hope. Created by Sweetapple and scripted by comedian and writer, Steve Punt, Rockford’s Rock Opera’s book on CD is funny, thoughtful, magical and like nothing you’ll ever have experienced before. Also, included are useful free Lesson Plans for teachers. Just press play to enjoy it online, click for Free Downloads – as an mp3 or iPod Story – then visit the shop to buy the specially enhanced discs that come with 24 page colour books, illustrations and videos. Truly a collectors’ audiobook on CD.
Much more than an adventure story, with animated videos, amazing sound effects and music, this is a children’s talking book like no other, available in a variety of easy-to-enjoy formats. It’s great for adults too and includes our own audiobook blog. Perfect for learning, great for storytelling in the classroom or for a wonderful, relaxing bedtime story treat, Rockford’s Rock Opera is first in a new generation of best children’s books. From the very young to older kids and adults, you’ll never have heard anything like this before. Edutainment at its very best for parents, teachers and especially, children!
Rockford’s Rock Opera has received rave reviews from the likes of WWF, BBC radio, The Independent, The Observer and more. And the great news is it is coming on to the stage in 2010. That’s going to be fantabulous! So now learning about our ecosystem and our role in it is really all song and dance.
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